I did change my mind multiple times about whether or not to write this blog because my obsession with these little guys is probably going to come across as very strange to most people! Please will you still follow my blog after I’ve admitted my weird obsession!
Nutcracker Dolls, also known as Christmas Nutcrackers, are decorative nutcracker figurines which are most commonly made to resemble Toy Soldiers. In German tradition, Nutcracker Dolls are said to bring good luck and to scare away bad spirits. Nowadays the majority of Nutcracker Dolls are decorative and are not able to crack nuts out of their shells.
Nutcracker dolls originate from late 17th century Germany. They were often given as gifts, and at some point they became associated with the Christmas season. Wilhelm Friedrich Füchtner (1844-1923), commonly known in Germany as “father of the nutcracker”, began the first mass production of the Nutcracker design from his workshop in Seiffen in Saxony during 1872.
Decorative nutcracker dolls became popular outside of Europe after the Second World War, when American soldiers stationed in Germany came home to the US with German nutcrackers as souvenirs. Further popularisation came from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, a ballet adaptation of E. T. A. Hoffmann’s story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, which featured a toy soldier nutcracker. The ballet, introduced to America during the mid-20th century, became a favorite holiday tradition across the US and helped to make nutcracker dolls a Christmas decoration and a seasonal icon across Western culture.
I started collecting Nutcracker Dolls a few years back and so now I have a pretty impressive collection! I’m not really sure what draws me to them to be honest, I think it’s simply because I love the festive season so much and they remind me of all things Christmassy!
Varying from small tree ornaments to large decorations, here is my Nutcracker selection so far:
The Countdown Soldier
This is the biggest Nutcracker Doll I own and is from this years Matalan collection! As soon as I saw his fluffy hat, boots and cape I knew I had to have him for my collection!
The Bearskin Soldiers
A bearskin is a tall fur cap, usually worn as part of a ceremonial military uniform. Traditionally, the bearskin was the headgear of grenadiers and it is still worn by grenadier and guards regiments in various armies.
These guys are again from this years Matalan collection and are completely different from the rest of my collection! They will certainly guard the presents around the tree very well!
The Sequin Sword Soldiers
Named as such because of their tall sequin hats and silver swords, these are the only Nutcrackers in my collection who carry a weapon I’ve noticed! These were part of Matalan’s Christmas 2016 collection. They go very well with my Countdown Soldier!
The M&S Soldiers
These guys were, un-surprisingly, from Marks and Spencer’s and were more expensive than the Matalan ones. They were on the three for two offer but who wants three? My OCD dictates only to buy them in pairs! Still, despite their price I am pleased I bought them, they have lovely crystal detailing on their outfits.
The White and Gold Nutcrackers
These guys were from Asda and so were pretty cheap! They are similar to some I already have but I loved their hats (which are made from tiny beads) and their fluffy boot and sleeve detail!
The Santa Nutcrackers
Another set from Marks and Spencer’s which were on the three for two offer, these guys are one of my favourite designs and are different from all the others as they are designed to look like Santa! The little bell they are holding really rings too!
The White and Gold Very Nutcrackers
As the name suggests, these guys were from Very and came in a set of two – one white one and one gold one from the two photos below – I bought two sets so I had two of each (OCD kicked in again!)
Plus this lovely Countdown Nutcracker my friend bought for me from her local garden centre!
The Nordic Nutcracker
He is one of my favourite designs as he looks really traditional, he’s from this years Matalan collection as well! I love his little bag of toys!
The Morrisons Tree Nutcrackers
I happened upon these in Morrison’s last year and bought a couple of packs! They came in packs of six and were really cheap! They are still packed away at the moment but as soon as I have unpacked them I will add photos of them!
The M&S Tree Nutcrackers
These guys are from this years Marks and Spencer’s collection and again, they were more expensive than the similar ones from Morrisons but they were on the three for two offer and I will say that they do have a working handle and moveable mouth as traditional Nutcracker Dolls have, which the set of Morrison’s ones don’t have!
Partylite Tealight Holder Nutcrackers
These guys are very different from all my other Nutcrackers but I really love them – they hold a tealight candle in their hats!
I get the feeling this collection will only continue to grow over the years! Last year at the Gloucester Quays Christmas Market they even had a giant Nutcracker trail! There were ten HUGE Nutcrackers you had to find along the trail, all with different names and colours and designs – it was really good and great fun for the kids!
If only I can find out who makes these giant Nutcrackers so I can have two standing guard outside our house…..
And if you love Nutcrackers but the dolls aren’t really your thing, check out these amazing Nutcracker themed items I’ve come across this year –
And if this isn’t enough for you, check out Paperchase’s Nutcracker collection!!! AMAZING!